Stovetop mac and cheese is the solution to your cheesy, gooey craving. Super easy and quick to make with a rich sauce, tender pasta, and only one pot to wash!
When you’re craving home cooked comfort food, creamy stovetop mac and cheese will always hit the spot. With one pot and ingredients that are already waiting for you in your kitchen, you can whip up a quick pot of creamy, cheesy no bake mac and cheese.
This recipe super convenient when you just need to satisfy that craving, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on flavor or texture! The sauce is rich, velvety, and big on cheesy goodness.
And because it’s not baked, this stove top mac and cheese also eliminates the extra fuss when it’s time to get dinner on the table, just like my stovetop candied sweet potatoes recipe!
How to Make Stovetop Mac and Cheese
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta based on the box directions. Drain your pasta.
STEP TWO: Melt butter in pan on medium low heat, then add in the flour and mix. Stir in salt and pepper until combined to make a roux.
STEP THREE: Increase the heat to medium heat and gradually add in the milk. Cook until the sauce starts to thicken, usually 3-4 minutes.
STEP FOUR: Remove from heat and add in cheddar cheese, stirring until melted. Pour in the cooked pasta and mix well to combine. Serve hot!
What to Serve With No Bake Mac and Cheese
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings
- Cajun Corn on the Cob
- Smoked Sausage in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Hush Puppies
- Shake and Bake Chicken in the Air Fryer
Variations for Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
- Add some protein. Diced rotisserie or buffalo chicken are tasty additions to this creamy stovetop mac and cheese. I’ve even added bacon like in my dutch oven mac and cheese recipe.
- Sneak in those veggies! Steam and dice broccoli florets and stir them into the sauce.
- Change up the cheese. Instead of traditional cheddar, add in your favorite melty alternative. Monterey Jack, Gruyere, and Fontina are popular choices.
- Use up leftovers. Instead of simply reheating the same dish, use the extra pasta to make mac and cheese bites in the air fryer.
How Do I Make Stove Top Mac and Cheese Creamy?
Creamy stovetop mac and cheese is important! Nobody wants a grainy mess. The easy way to avoid a less than stellar texture is to pick the right cheese. You need a cheese that melts well like cheddar, Monterey Jack, or mozzarella.
Also, grate your cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheeses usually contain anti-caking agents that affect the texture when cheese melts.
High heat or big changes in temperature can cause your cheese to separate and be grainy. So keep your heat low and use room temperature or warmed milk when making your sauce.
Other Pasta Recipes You’ll Love:
- Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Spicy Chicken Chipotle Pasta
- Simple Italian Pasta Salad
- Ninja Food Spaghetti
- Air Fryer Gnocchi
- Instant Pot Tortellini Soup
What is the Best Cheese for Mac n Cheese on the Stove Top?
You want a creamy, cheesy sauce for great stove top mac and cheese. The payoff for making homemade mac and cheese from scratch, instead of using a box, is big cheese flavor.
- Cheddar is the classic choice for mac and cheese. Sharp cheese will give you a stronger flavor, while mild cheddar will give you a milder taste.
- Feeling adventurous? Try Gruyere for a simple way to upgrade your mac and cheese. It melts perfectly and has a richness you’ll love.
- Monterey Jack, Colby, Fontina, and Mozzarella also melt exceptionally well for stovetop macaroni and cheese.
Can I Use Milk Instead of Heavy Cream in No Bake Mac and Cheese?
Absolutely! I actually created this stovetop mac and cheese recipe using milk because I don’t always have heavy cream on hand. We love mac n cheese around our house, and I need to be able to pull out one pot and make it fast with what I have in the pantry and the refrigerator.
If you want to have a richer sauce, you can substitute heavy cream or half and half in this recipe. But be careful not to have your heat too high to prevent scorching the cream or making the sauce grainy.
More Mac and Cheese Recipes
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Velveeta Mac and Cheese Crock Pot Recipe
- Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese
- 3 Ingredient Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Recipe
- Mac and Cheese Without Milk
- Buffalo Mac and Cheese
- Mexican Mac and Cheese
- Mac and Cheese Bites in the Air Fryer
- Ninja Foodi Mac and Cheese
- Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
- Mac and Cheese with Cream Cheese
- 16 ounces pasta (I used elbow noodles)
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- 5 Tablespoons flour
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 1/4 cups milk
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Boil a pot of water and cook pasta per directions on box until al dente. Strain pasta.
- Melt butter in pan on med/low heat. Add in flour and mix. Stir is salt and pepper until combined to make a roux.
- Increase to medium heat. Gradually add in the milk.
- Cook until the sauce starts to thicken, usually 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add in cheddar cheese. Stir until melted.
- Pour in pasta and mix well to combine.
- Serve immediately.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 665Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 968mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 25g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.